Thanks to the nearly 1,430 volunteer hunter education instructors who serve Kansas, zero hunting-related fatalities were reported in 2016 – a stark contrast to statistics from just 50 years ago when the state saw seven lives lost, two years in a row. Kansas Hunter Education instructors certified 7,692 students in 2016, bringing the total number of students certified to hunt in Kansas to just over half a million since the programs inception in 1973.
Nine nonfatal hunting-related incidents were reported in 2016, making hunting still one of the safest outdoor activities and Kansas one of the safest places to enjoy it in. While nine incidents is a certainly a low number considering the more than 5 million hunter-days spent afield each year, it doesn’t lessen the impact made on the families and communities who may have suffered as a result of these incidents.
The majority of the hunting-related incidents reported last year were the result of hunters swinging on game with a shotgun and unintentionally hitting a fellow hunter in the line of fire. According to reports, some of the hunters injured in these incidents were not wearing a conspicuous amount of hunter orange, and as a result, were not easily seen in the field.
A minimal number of tree stand incidents were also reported last year, but luckily none were fatal. As in years past, these incidents were typically the result of hunters failing to use a full body harness/fall arrest system attached to the tree.
Hunting is safe and getting safer, but everyone must do their part to keep it that way. As any Kansas Hunter Education instructor will tell you, the best piece of equipment a hunter can have afield is right between his or her ears.
To find a Hunter Education class near you, visit ksoutdoors.com/Services/Education/Hunter.